Thursday, 18 September 2014

outdoor living

Outdoor living is a temporary series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating the season of summer!
This blog series is about celebrating the summer season but today I'm giving a nod to autumn with a feature from the October 2005 issue of House & Garden. This Milanese townhouse and garden, with its shutters, conservatory, terrace, and balcony with large terracotta pots, kept on pulling me. It is a Studio Peregalli design and belongs to Claudio and Maria Luti. He is the CEO of Kartell, the Italian furniture company, founded in 1949 by Maria's father, Giulio Castelli.
I had to include a photo taken inside the conservatory, or garden room, so you could take a peek into the garden. The table is English, from the early 19th century, contrasted with modern Louis Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck for Kartell.
I found a feature of this same house in T Magazine from April last year and had to add this sunny third photo.
photo credit:
1-2: François Halard for House & Garden, October 2005 via Architectural Digest | 3: Ruy Teixeira for T Magazine

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

autumn colours and home styling details

I had no idea what to name today's post. The title could as well have been 'feeling inspired by the October 2014 issue of The World of Interiors', even though none of these images come from the magazine. Yesterday I had to run some errands and I bought the issue in a bookshop before heading to a café to enjoy a latte. I felt so inspired by the deep colours in the issue, the textiles, art, book talk, and the various home styling. Reading the issue felt like being hit with the ideal dose of autumn mood - autumn with an element of lightness. My mind started thinking about certain images in my files, first the one above which I saw the other day on the Facebook page of Traditional Home. It is my idea of a beautiful styling with perfect colours and details. Then I started thinking about a house tour in Vogue US earlier this year, when the magazine visited Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten at his home in Lier, a city not far from Antwerp. The photo below shows one of his many stunning spaces.
In the issue there was a talk about a new book that is being published tomorrow, Green: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau, the third in a series of five volumes from the Princeton University Press (the first was Blue and the second Black). One of the images in the article was this Henri Matisse painting, but I was reminded of the colours in the one below, Meditation (Portrait of Laurette), 1916–17.
Then my mind parted with Matisse and to my mind came a particular space in a London home by designer Alidad that has a large tapestry on the wall and a yellow sofa. It's a shade of yellow that reminds me of the changing colours of the autumn leaves. If this is the interior design style you find fascinating you may want to get a copy of his book: Alidad: The Timeless Home.
I believe I have now described to you what can happen when a person sits down at a café with a latte and an inspiring magazine … it can be magical.

photo credit:
1: Traditional Home on Facebook | 2: François Halard for Vogue US, March 2014 (home of Dries Van Noten) via Handpicked by Ron & Chris | 3: Henri Matisse, Meditation (Portrait of Laurette), 1916–17, oil on canvas, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston via Architects and Artisans | 4: Simon Upton for House & Garden, March 2001 via Alidad

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

space: art meets tiles in Valencia

All that talk about art yesterday in the late Bunny Mellon's country home made me want to feature a space today with the focus on an art piece. This modern living room in Valencia is a David Lladró design. The red and white artwork that demands one attention is by Spanish artist Nanda Botella. The tiles on the floor are original tiles that were taken up and randomly placed as borders throughout the space (the other floor material is cement). Beautifully contrasting the painting and tiles is an oriental console table with two terracotta vases. Modern without feeling cold.

photo credit:
Oberto Gili for House & Garden, March 2006 via Architectural Digest

Monday, 15 September 2014

Oak Spring Farms: Bunny Mellon's country estate

On Friday I came across an interesting article in The New York Times about the upcoming Sotheby's auction of many of Bunny Mellon's possessions. Apart from personal items there will be plenty of art works, or about 400 paintings and drawings, including works by Picasso and Hopper. A Rothko painting is expected to sell for $30 million and they say the auction could bring in over $100 million. Included in the article were images of her 4,000-acre farm, Oak Spring Farms, in Upperville, Virginia, a wonderfully laid-back home considering the wealth of its residents. For those who don't know her story Mellon was an iconic American figure, born Rachel Lowe Lambert in 1910 into a wealthy pharmaceutical family (her grandfather invented Listerine). In 1948 she married her second husband, Paul Mellon, a billionaire who passed away in 1999. Bunny was a philanthropist, an avid art collector who had a stunning collection in her five homes (e.g. Degas, Mark Rothko, Pissarro, Georgia O'Keeffe), a self-taught horticulturist and a gardener. She was a close friend to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and replanted the White House Rose Garden for the Kennedys in 1962, and later the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. She was 103 years old when she passed away in March this year.
A photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Marshall Hawkins sits on Mellon's desk.
There is also a bust by Renoir that you can see in the top photo.

In Oak Spring she kept a beautiful garden, which she designed herself, of course, and fascinating art pieces. There was even a still life by Vincent van Gogh hanging above her bathtub. In the NYT article they point out:
But perhaps most notably, she was a passionate collector of a bygone era. She didn’t pay attention to what was in fashion; she didn’t think about future financial returns. Instead, she had understated and original taste, buying what she loved, free from the dictates of decorators and investment consultants.
An unframed Pissarro hangs above the living room fireplace, and one by Winslow Homer to the top left.
The horse on the mantle is by Swiss sculptor and designer Diego Giacometti, who was a personal friend.

I remember reading an interview with Mellon in Vanity Fair back in 2010, which she gave shortly before turning 100 years old and her mind was still sharp (the detail photo from the garden house further below is from the interview). I remember reading articles that stated she frequently wore Jean Schlumberger jewellery and that couturier Balenciaga designed all her clothes until his retirement in 1968. Then she turned to Hubert de Givenchy, who also designed the uniforms worn by her maids. The designer clothes and jewellery indicated her style and class but Mellon was so much more; an extraordinary lady, a supporter of the arts, who also distributed her wealth to those in need.
A work by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte in the stairway.
Two works by the 20th century French artist Madeline Hewes hang on the wall in the entrance.
On a dining room wall hangs a portrait by Welsh artist Gwen John.
Mellon herself designed the inner garden at Oak Spring and the courtyard. The garden house is quite unique and has a trompe l'œil decoration by French artist Fernand Renard.

Friday, 12 September 2014

yellow walls - part one

For some time I have been collecting images with yellow painted rooms. I don't know why I started it, there was just something about the way each owner decorated a yellow room that I found intriguing. Mainly I found these rooms in grand homes that I don't really feature much on the blog. Have you ever painted a wall in yellow? I once had a yellow painted kitchen, which felt really warm, and I have used yellow in other rooms in the past. The shades I chose were either soft or deep ones with a hint of orange (think saffron or turmeric). The only yellow shade that bothers me on walls is a very bright one, or a cool version of yellow. I need my yellows warm and I think such rooms look beautiful with wooden furniture.

Let's start with a yellow drawing room in the Ven House, an 18th century country estate in Milborne Port, Somerset now owned by British fashion designer Jasper Conran. It's a stunning house that was featured in the October 2011 issue of The World of Interiors. To restore it Conran got help from antique dealer and interior consultant Edward Hurst.
Conran's yellow drawing room in the Ven House seen from the opposite direction.
The next yellow room belongs to interior designer Hélène Aumont, who has created a Parisian-inspired hideaway in the Santa Ynez valley. Her room feels very relaxed; it's the perfect farmhouse setting. Aumont grew up in Paris, in the 16th arrondissement, and spent much of her childhood on a ranch in Corsica.
For a soft version of yellow I have chosen interior designer Alidad's drawing room in London, which I find beautifully styled. Alidad was born in Tehran but lives in London. The award-winning designer has international clients that include celebrities like Bono, Adele, Madonna, and Beyoncé, just to name a few. By the way, that tapestry on his wall is 17th-century Flemish.
A yellow painted and rustic dining room in a 400-year-old villa in Moncalieri, Italy.

This grand living room below is located in Manila, Philippines and is a Mario Buatta design. If you are interested in the legendary work of the designer there is a book called Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration that was published by Rizzoli last year.
Finally, I'm showing you a stylishly decorated orange-yellow room in North Carolina, a Miles Redd design. I think this is such a beautiful shade of yellow and the white furniture is a perfect mix. It has nothing to do with the room but the photographer is the late Fernando Bengoechea, who died while vacationing in Sri Lanka when the 2004 tsunami hit. He was there with his partner, designer Nate Berkus.
photo credit:
1-2: Tim Beddow for The World of Interiors via Loveisspeed + Mark D. Sikes | 3: Paul Rocheleau for C Home | 4: Simon Upton for Elle Decor | 5: Michel Arnaud for Architectural Digest | 6: Mary E. Nichols for Architectural Digest | 7: Fernando Bengoechea for Elle Decor, February/March 2001 via Decor Design Review

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